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The “data” in customer data platform

September 27, 2016 | By

This is part 2 of a series of 3 blogs about the different components of a CDP: customer, data, and platform (you can read the first installment about the “customer” here!)

The second word in CDP is “data.” Why is the word ‘data’ so important? The main reason is that it’s not only about structured data –for example the name of a customer – but it’s also about all types of data. Some examples:

  • Data that shows someone clicked on an ad campaign
  • Data about when someone called the call center
  • Data tracking how often someone has visited the website
  • Data for the last known address from a visitor
  • How engaged a visitor is and what they’re interested in
  • Storing what someone has typed into any text box on the site
  • The affinity of a visitor to certain content or product types

So it’s not just the ‘hard data,’ which is typically explicit, but additionally the ‘soft data’ – or the implicit insights. To gather this data you need to listen to your visitors. We sometimes call this ‘deep listening’, where a CDP like BlueConic can store really extensive customer data like every field of a form filled they filled in, or the phase where someone dropped off in a funnel.

funnel visualization

This data goes beyond what is collected for known visitors or existing customers, and includes all anonymous visitors, which typically represents the vast majority of the traffic to your site. Because you want to store as much as possible, creating a new data type should be really easy. This could be a gigantic volume of unstructured data, which means that most CDPs run on a big data database.

Also, because they start in an anonymous state, capturing an identifier (login, email address, facebook connect, customer id, subscriber id etc) is crucial: when the CDP collects identifiers, it can look up other customer data to see if data was already gathered for that specific customer, and merge the data together.

So, to summarize: the D in CDP is about applying big data: large volumes of unstructured data about customers and visitors.

Keep following us for the next in the series, the “platform” part of a CDP!

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